Saturday, March 31, 2012
The reputation of estate agents will not be improved by their latest marketing ploy - listing so-called "haunted houses" for sale or rent because the occupants have died. The property descriptions come complete with the gruesome details of the occupants' deaths. Jilted girlfriends who commit suicide and drug addicts who accidentally set themselves alight do little for a property's value, which mean the canny buyer can grab a bargain in the city's cutthroat housing market. That's the theory behind the "Haunted House" section recently launched in English on Hong Kong property website Square Foot. The online agency believes that while Chinese homebuyers may find the subject taboo, some expatriates will jump at the chance of cheaper housing. Square Foot trawls local media, for details on all current deaths - either by murder, suicide, accident or natural causes. The company has already hailed it a success, despite the fact that according to the code of ethics issued by the Estate Agents Authority, agents are under no legal obligation to tell prospective tenants if there has been a death at a property. Square Foot's database covers all of Hong Kong and the listings can be searched by address, date and district. Shrewd local landlords have also spotted a good opportunity to make some money."We know of investors who buy these haunted houses so that they can have a very good rental rate if they aim solely for expatriates," said Kenny Wong, Square Foot marketing manager. "It makes for a very good return for the investor if you can buy the property cheaply, because of its history, and then charge a higher rental rate to expatriates." Depending on the location, Wong said landlords can get up to a 10 per cent return on their investment. But if there are no expat takers, the landlord is generally left with an empty apartment on his hands that no one wants to rent, Wong added. "For Chinese renters or buyers, if a death has happened in a house, we have found that the property's value may drop by 30 to 50 per cent as local people will not be interested in it," Wong added. "But it has proved to be very successful as expatriates don't mind living in what many local people would say is a haunted house." Wong added this not only related to the property where the death took place, but also affected the sale or rent of apartments on the same floor.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Sea Monster Washes Up On South Carolina Coast
Stand back, Nessie. South Carolina believes they are dealing with a whole different kind of sea monster. An alarmingly large and strange-looking body of some kind of aquatic creature washed up on the coastal state's Folly Beach. Not knowing what the corpse could be, locals started claiming it was some kind of unknown sea monster. A South Carolina aquarium vet quickly dispelled this belief, identifying the freaky fish as a very large sturgeon. Several species of sturgeon are native to North America, with the Atlantic sturgeon being the type found in the South Carolina area. All species of this swimmer are known to grow to massive sizes.The Atlantic Sturgeon usually grows to be around 10 feet long and 300 pounds, but can grow to be as big as 15 feet long and 800 pounds. Obviously, Folly Beach's find is on the bigger side. The fish's beady eyes, face barbs and bony, scale-like plates all contribute to the sturgeon's alien look. For many residents of the area, this may be the first and last time they see a fish of this kind. The species, which has been swimming our seas for a 100 million years, is at risk. Sturgeon populations are being hit hard by commercial fishing, with several species making the endangered list. Still, we're sure local residents are happy to find out they are just dealing with a big fish and not Godzilla.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Law Enforcement Met A Foul Smelling "Satan"
Christopher Reed looked at a St. Lucie County Sheriff's deputy with a "death stare." "I am the devil and I will kill you," Reed is quoted as saying in a recently released arrest affidavit. Reed, 43, gave the deadly look and said he was Satan March 7 after the deputy asked whether he felt OK -- responses that could suggest he wasn't feeling OK. A deputy went to the 5600 block of Angle Road after an apparent report of a man on the side of the road. The deputy found a man later identified as Reed on a canal bank. "As I got closer, I could smell a strong foul odor coming from the subject," the affidavit states. Reed was staring at a tree line and talking to himself."He was mumbling something about the devil and the end of times and '6 6 6,'" the affidavit states. Reed's hands shook and his fingers moved like he was typing. The deputy introduced herself and asked Reed if he was feeling OK. That's when Reed gave the "death stare," said he was the devil, threatened to kill the deputy and ranted and screamed. He raised his voice and kept screaming about killing the deputy, who requested more units. During an apparent confrontation, Reed got struck by deputies and wound up pulling at least one deputy in a canal. Reed, listed as homeless, was arrested on two counts of simple assault on a law enforcement officer and single counts each of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting with violence.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
North Arlington Ghost: Construction Worker Quits After Margaret Febrey Sighting
Two months ago, an old Victorian house sat on the site, but as crews began demolishing the property to build a new club house, one of the workers spotted a young girl inside of the building. The girl is thought to be Margaret Febrey, who was laid to rest in Oakwood Cemetery almost 100 years ago. "He said he saw this little girl in the window ... and he went in and couldn't find her, and on his way out he saw her on the steps and turned around and didn't see her," said Jeff Schreiner, construction supervisor.
The encounter was too much for the construction worker. He immediately packed his stuff and walked off the job permanently. Fourteen-year-old Febrey had lived in the Victorian house being demolished before her death in 1913. The sighting spooked workers so much, they stopped construction on the 99th anniversary of her death in January. Over the years, the old house even turned skeptics into believers. "It's certainly possible. The house has been there a long time," said North Arlington resident Liza Marshall. The sighting of Margaret by a construction worker remains the only occurrence.
Mysterious Booms Resume In Eastern Wisconsin
Mysterious underground booms resumed early Wednesday in the eastern Wisconsin community of Clintonville after a quiet night. The noise awakened some residents Sunday and Monday night. After checking numerous theories about what may have caused the noise, authorities are still at a loss to explain the origin.Police dispatcher Tabitha Schoen says it was a quiet night in Clintonville until shortly after 5 a.m. when about 20 calls came in from residents who experienced the booms. They've been described as rumbles of thunder, sonic booms or fireworks and have rattled houses. A meeting about the mysterious noise is scheduled Wednesday night at the high school in Clintonville.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
‘Demon Fighter’ Takes Hostage, Demands Camera Death
A “demon fighter” from the Russian Volga region's Republic of Mari El took a woman hostage and demanded a lethal injection in front of TV cameras “to fight dark forces in the Underworld,” the republic’s acting police chief said on Wednesday. The 29-year-old unemployed man, armed with a hunting rifle, took a 44-year-old woman hostage in her apartment in the republic’s capital Yoshkar-Ola late on Tuesday.“The man called the police, demanding a TV crew and a lethal injection, so that he could publicly commit suicide and 'go to the Underworld to fight dark forces,'” Mari El acting police chief Andrei Bratukhin said. The local MariMedia news portal said the hostage-taker was heard screaming to give him “a lethal injection to save Christ.” He was detained after a police officer, posing as a journalist, persuaded him to open the apartment door. The man, who already attempted to commit suicide in 2010, faces up to 15 years in prison.
Alabama Residents Spot Large Creature
Alabama residents reportedly spotted what seemed to be a gorilla over the weekend in Newbern, Hale County. The county sheriff's office believes they are searching for at least one gorilla in the area, but could it be more than just a large primate? The authorities are searching for the animal after two sightings. ABC news reports that one sighting was made by a child, while the second sighting was reported as a possible bear. Authorities checked with the Birmingham Zoo, which is located approximately 10 miles away, for an escaped Gorilla. The Birmingham Zoo told ABC News that their only gorilla, 16-year-old Cenzoo, is currently safe within the Zoo. With no home video or surveillance footage confirming the giant animal to be a gorilla, is it possible that Bigfoot or Sasquatch could be roaming the state of Alabama?Bigfoot, whose existence was confirmed in 1902, has been rumored to reside in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, but since 1958, Bigfoot sightings have occurred in the state of Alabama. Last year the state had two Bigfoot sightings. A witness told the Birmingham Free Press that the "beast" was "very large, thick shouldered and tall. At least seven feet tall ... [and] very dark brown." The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) has said that there have been over 60 Bigfoot sightings in the state since 1980. According to the Birmingham Free Press there have been over 3,700 sightings nationally in the same time period. Hale County Sheriff's office has yet to discover the gorilla or possible Bigfoot, but is slated to be releasing a statement soon.